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Graeme Kirkpatrick. Recommend to library. Free Shipping. Technology permeates almost every dimension of our lives.

1st Edition

But who controls technological development? Can technology cause social inequality? And how will technology continue to affect lives in the digital era? Technology and Social Power provides a fresh examination of the role of technology in our society.

Power (social and political) - Wikipedia

Bringing together critical, classical and contemporary social theories, it fully examines everything you need to know about the sociology of technology. From the invention of the modern toothbrush to the design of Google, the book uses relevant examples to give useful insights into the social dimension of everyday technology.

With clear definitions of key terms alongside a well-balanced approach to the most important empirical and theoretical work in the field, this book provides a clear and thorough account of the subject. Making complex ideas accessible, it is invaluable reading for all students seeking to understand the role of technology in our society today, and its likely impact in the future. Fresh approach to increasingly important area of study Accessible links made between theory and empirical evidence Engaging use of contemporary examples.

He has published articles on technology and society in a variety of journals. Cart Continue Shopping. Power resources can exist in the form of capital [ disambiguation needed ] , property rights , political influence, discursive resources, production and access to information, violence and force, authority, weapons of the weak to be understood as every day resistance in the form of lifestyle choices.

For example, consumption habits and social category gender, ethnicity, age, class, nationality. Inequality can arise among any or all of these power resources, directly affecting the power an actor has in relation to other actors. In turn the power an actor has can affect the power resources, creating a potential vicious or virtuous cycle. This suggests that increases or decreases in inequality do not always happen intentionally, but can be a result of such vicious or virtuous cycles.

The idea of unmarked categories originated in feminism.

The theory analyzes the culture of the powerful. The powerful comprise those people in society with easy access to resources, those who can exercise power without considering their actions. The unmarked category can form the identifying mark of the powerful. The unmarked category becomes the standard against which to measure everything else.

For most Western readers, it is posited that if a protagonist's race is not indicated, it will be assumed by the reader that the protagonist is Caucasian ; if a sexual identity is not indicated, it will be assumed by the reader that the protagonist is heterosexual ; if the gender of a body is not indicated, will be assumed by the reader that it is male ; if a disability is not indicated, it will be assumed by the reader that the protagonist is able bodied, just as a set of examples. One can often overlook unmarked categories.

Whiteness forms an unmarked category not commonly visible to the powerful, as they often fall within this category. The unmarked category becomes the norm, with the other categories relegated to deviant status. Social groups can apply this view of power to race, gender , and disability without modification: the able body is the neutral body. The term 'counter-power' sometimes written 'counterpower' is used in a range of situations to describe the countervailing force that can be utilised by the oppressed to counterbalance or erode the power of elites.

A general definition has been provided by the anthropologist David Graeber as 'a collection of social institutions set in opposition to the state and capital: from self-governing communities to radical labor unions to popular militias'. Recent experimental psychology suggests that the more power one has, the less one takes on the perspective of others, implying that the powerful have less empathy.

Adam Galinsky , along with several coauthors, found that when those who are reminded of their powerlessness are instructed to draw Es on their forehead, they are 3 times more likely to draw them such that they are legible to others than those who are reminded of their power. In one example, powerful people turned off an irritatingly close fan twice as much as less powerful people. Researchers have documented the bystander effect : they found that powerful people are three times as likely to first offer help to a "stranger in distress".

A study involving over 50 college students suggested that those primed to feel powerful through stating 'power words' were less susceptible to external pressure, more willing to give honest feedback, and more creative. The use of power has evolved from centuries. Having power or not having power can cause a number of psychological consequences. It leads to strategic versus social responsibilities. Earlier [ when? It was concluded [ by whom? Later [ when? Being strategic can also mean to defend when one is opposed or to hurt the decision-maker. Bargaining games were explored [ by whom?

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These studies compared behavior done in different power given [ clarification needed ] situations. In an ultimatum game , the person in given power offers an ultimatum and the recipient would have to accept that offer or else both the proposer and the recipient will receive no reward. In a dictator game , the person in given power offers a proposal and the recipient would have to accept that offer. The recipient has no choice of rejecting the offer. The dictator game gives no power to the recipient whereas the ultimatum game gives some power to the recipient.

The behavior observed was that the person offering the proposal would act less strategically than would the one offering in the ultimatum game. Self-serving also occurred and a lot of pro-social behavior was observed. When the counterpart recipient is completely powerless, lack of strategy, social responsibility and moral consideration is often observed from the behavior of the proposal given the one with the power.


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Abusive power and control or controlling behaviour or coercive control involve the ways in which abusers gain and maintain power and control over victims for abusive purposes such as psychological , physical , sexual , or financial abuse. Such abuse can have various causes - such as personal gain, personal gratification , psychological projection , devaluation , envy or just for the sake of it - as the abuser may simply enjoy exercising power and control.

Controlling abusers may use multiple tactics to exert power and control over their victims. The tactics themselves are psychologically and sometimes physically abusive. Control may be helped through economic abuse , thus limiting the victim's actions as they may then lack the necessary resources to resist the abuse. Manipulators and abusers may control their victims with a range of tactics, including: [42]. The vulnerabilities of the victim are exploited, with those who are particularly vulnerable being most often selected as targets.

Isolation , gaslighting , mind games , lying , disinformation , propaganda , destabilisation , brainwashing and divide and rule are other strategies that are often used. The victim may be plied with alcohol or drugs or deprived of sleep to help disorientate them. Certain personality-types [ which? In everyday situations people use a variety of power tactics to push or prompt people into particular action.

There are plenty of examples of power tactics that are quite common and employed every day. Some of these tactics include bullying , collaboration, complaining, criticizing, demanding, disengaging, evading, humor, inspiring, manipulating , negotiating, socializing, and supplicating. These power tactics can be classified along three different dimensions: [51] [52].

People tend to vary in their use of power tactics, with different types of people opting for different tactics. For instance, interpersonally oriented people tend to use soft and rational tactics. Moreover, extroverts use a greater variety of power tactics than do introverts. People also tend to shift from soft to hard tactics when they face resistance.

Because power operates both relationally and reciprocally, sociologists speak of the balance of power between parties to a relationship : all parties to all relationships have some power: the sociological examination of power concerns itself with discovering and describing the relative strengths: equal or unequal, stable or subject to periodic change. Sociologists usually analyse relationships in which the parties have relatively equal or nearly equal power in terms of constraint rather than of power. Thus 'power' has a connotation of unilateralism.

If this were not so, then all relationships could be described in terms of 'power', and its meaning would be lost. Given that power is not innate and can be granted to others, to acquire power you must possess or control a form of power currency.

Power changes those in the position of power and those who are targets of that power. Developed by D. The theory is based on the notion that most organisms react to environmental events in two common ways. The reaction of approach is associated with action, self-promotion, seeking rewards, increased energy and movement. Inhibition , on the contrary, is associated with self-protection, avoiding threats or danger, vigilance, loss of motivation and an overall reduction in activity.

Studies in Social Power

A number of studies demonstrate that harsh power tactics e. Coercive influence creates conflict that can disrupt entire group functioning.


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When disobedient group members are severely reprimanded, the rest of the group may become more disruptive and uninterested in their work, leading to negative and inappropriate activities spreading from one troubled member to the rest of the group. This effect is called Disruptive contagion or ripple effect and it is strongly manifested when reprimanded member has a high status within a group, and authority's requests are vague and ambiguous.

Coercive influence can be tolerated when the group is successful, [77] the leader is trusted, and the use of coercive tactics is justified by group norms. However, in some cases, group members chose to resist the authority's influence.